Thursday January 14, 2021
Debate about stricter rules
Merkel wants to bring forward the next corona summit
Although there are indications that the situation in the intensive care units is easing, the signs are on alarm at the federal government: Merkel advocates bringing forward the next round between the Chancellery and regional leaders. She rejects that allegedly public transport should be blocked.
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to discuss how to proceed with the corona pandemic with the prime ministers of the federal states in the coming week. She made this clear in the evening, according to participants in the online meeting of the CDU presidium.
Merkel did not give a specific date for the next round between the Chancellery and the country leaders. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak said after the meetings of the Presidium and the Federal Executive Board that the CDU leadership had noted the developments in the number of infections, but also the death toll, with great concern. This development will “force action” also in the coming weeks. It was not more specific.
Merkel had previously been quoted from the digital deliberations in the CDU executive committee as saying that they were in a race against time and could not wait until January 25th. Only tightened measures could stop exponential growth. The mutation caused “great concern”.
Merkel denies the report on the closure of public transport
Talks for the next conference of prime ministers with Merkel are Monday or Tuesday next week. Originally the group had agreed to meet on January 25th.
The Chancellor rejected a report in the “Bild” newspaper, according to which the Chancellery was considering the discontinuation of local and long-distance public transport. According to information from ntv, Merkel said no one wanted to close public transport. “We have to get the UK virus under control,” she said. To do this, public transport must be relieved “by doing more home offices and thus reducing contacts”. Ziemiak emphasized that the virus mutation “is of great concern to all of us”.
Altmaier promotes a harder lockdown
In various media reports, there was also talk of the fact that the Chancellery and the federal states, in changing constellations, would also advise on an obligation to wear FFP2 masks, border closings, an obligation to work from home and more uniform rules overall.
Merkel very clearly defended the political decisions of Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn, who had recently come under fire for the start of the vaccination campaign and the procurement of vaccination doses. European cooperation was correct.
The Chancellor also praised the German economy. It is “sensational that a vaccine is already there after ten months. The German vaccine developer Biontech and the US company Pfizer are” a great example of transatlantic cooperation. ” Lockdown held as the closings would otherwise last until April.
Resistance from the countries: decisions only next week
Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) had previously said that he wanted to talk to Merkel about bringing forward the next round of the federal and state governments. The lockdown measures so far apply until the end of January. However, according to information from the Reuters news agency, there is still considerable resistance from some countries. In government circles it was said in the evening that an extension of the lockdown regulations in February was very likely anyway, given the continued high number of new infections. Real decisions can only be made from next week.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) also said that we should talk about tightening if the virus mutation spreads from Great Britain. However, an early federal-state meeting only makes sense if everyone really pulls together, it was said in negotiating circles.
The situation in intensive care units is less dramatic
The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, said in the morning that it would not really be known until the weekend how much the high number of infections would be influenced by the increased meetings over Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Several prime ministers have already called for a debate on tightening. Merkel herself had spoken at the beginning of the week that, given the spread of virus mutations, they were facing “hard eight to ten weeks”.
At the same time there were signs that the situation in the German intensive care units was easing: The President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive and Emergency Medicine (Divi), Gernot Marx, told the “Rheinische Post” that it looked “as if we had it High point exceeded among intensive care patients “. At the moment it also seems as if the feared aggravation of the situation in the intensive care units due to meetings on Christmas and New Year’s Eve will not materialize, added the head of the association.